4 thoughts on “How Do Things Turn Out for Lifelong Singles? Depends on Whether They Chose to Be Single

  • November 13, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Yeah, I was reflecting on exactly this as I recently read the sad comments sections on two articles, one on the lack of dating opportunities for women over 50 and the other on loneliness in women over 60. In both cases, the comments sections were FILLED with people who were bemoaning their single status. Some of them were in lonely marriages or rotten relationships but afraid to leave, because they were afraid to be alone. Others were divorced or out of LTRs, pining for love, finding no one, feeling resigned, sad, confused, or lonely.

    By the time I got to the end of the comments section (I was compelled to read them all, for some reason), I was feeling kind of low. It took me a little while to realize that all the doom and gloom and woe is me attitudes had brought me down. It then occurred to me that in all the 100s of comments I read, I couldn’t remember one of them who said he/she was HAPPY to be single, was GLAD he/she was single. It was just one person after another who was single but wished to be coupled.

    I thought about how all the data on “single people” must be so badly skewed to the negative by all these people who hate being single, who can’t handle being alone and can’t manage to enjoy their single life. There is a LOT of them, judging by those comments. I’m surprised single people come out looking even remotely happy and well-adjusted, with all of those people in the mix.

    Anyhow, yes, the distinction between people who want/choose to be single and people who feel stuck with it and would love for it to be otherwise — that is a crucial distinction. Makes all the difference in the world. Those are two very different types of people.

    • November 14, 2019 at 3:32 pm

      I think the one about dating would not attract many happy single people because many of them are not interested in dating. I know I’d never click on an article like that. I’d only leave a comment on the other one to correct the record, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/08/single-people-arent-to-blame-for-the-loneliness-epidemic/568786/?utm_medium=offsite&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=newsstand-family . It is disappointing to hear this, but I think things are changing. In the Facebook group I started, the Community of Single People, we often discuss posting very different kinds of comments to articles in the media.

      • November 14, 2019 at 6:38 pm

        Thanks for the link to the other article. You’re right about it being a biased sample. I don’t normally click on dating articles myself, but sometimes it’s fun (?) to see how miserable and awful the dating scene is. It can also be a sort of cultural anthropology, to see how “the other half” lives — the unhappily single, the unhappily married/coupled but too afraid of being alone to get out. Not a pretty picture!

        Makes me feel better about own lifestyle choice.

        So does your work, by the way. I actually had to read a little of “The Best of Single Life” to cleanse myself, after reading those comments sections… It’s a book I return to repeatedly, to help remind me of fundamental truths that don’t get enough attention. Thank you.

      • November 14, 2019 at 7:35 pm

        Thanks! So good to hear that about my “Best of…” book.


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